Tonawanda News — North Tonawanda has extended a lease agreement with a river cruise company that city officials said provides an example of efforts to draw tourists to the waterfront.
Niagara River Cruises Inc. kicked off its business venture last summer, offering tours, shuttle service and party trips from the newly dubbed vessel, “Queen of Peace,” along the Niagara River.
Owners Robin Hoch and Tom Hauser launched the shuttle service in June that ran from the Four Points Sheraton Hotel in Niagara Falls to Gateway Harbor in the Lumber City as well as the Byblos Niagara Resort & Spa on Grand Island. It is thought to be the only water taxi on the upper Niagara River.
The leased space will remain across from the Remington Tavern and Seafood Exchange and in close proximity to downtown NT. The vessel holds about 46 passengers.
Hoch said she felt the first year went well, though she and Hauser will put more of focus this summer on offering tours for special events, while keeping the shuttle service in place during the weekends.
“We’re also working with the hotels in Niagara Falls,” she said. “We hope to have things up an running by Memorial Day this year.”
City officials said the business ties into nicely to a plan to lure additional tourists to its shores and tap into the millions that visit Niagara Falls annually. The common council last week approved the continuation of a lease with Hoch and Hauser that lends them 50-feet of space along Sweeney Street.
Third Ward Alderman Eric Zadzilka said he has also reached out to the Chamber of Commerce of the Tonawandas to peruse the possibility of marketing North Tonawanda business to some of the boat’s passengers and start talks about the possibility of guided tours in the city.
“I know last year was their first shot at it,” he said. “I’m excited they’re coming back. There’s room to grow.”
For more information go to niagararivercruises.us.